Autism is a mental condition, present from early childhood, characterised by great difficulty in communicating and forming relationships with other people and in using language and abstract concepts.
There are a variety of different cases of autism which fall on the autism spectrum. In the beginning, you have milder conditions that are considered moderate but on the higher side of the spectrum, the condition would be more severe.
The hardest part for the sibling is to watch the parent/s struggle to find day care centres and schools suitable and understanding to the needs of their autistic child. For most part, it is an endless battle to give the child the best support that will help ensure life’s best experiences.
The inability to communicate with an autistic sibling due to their inability to speak or communicate effectively leads to social isolation for both the siblings due to communication gaps. The way forward for the family to catch up on an autistic child is to notice behavioural changes and educate themselves on growth and development of this spectrum.
Having them sit with you over a cup of coffee to tell you how they are feeling would be an incorrect expectation to have. The little efforts should be in subtly letting them know that you are going to be there for them.
But, it’s not all rain. When they are in the company of people who truly understand them, like their family or siblings that they are close to, despite being on the spectrum, their personality would shine.
Personally, I think that having a sibling with autism teaches the other sibling so many life lessons. They become aware about the uncertainties of life early and are more compassionate to people with different needs. They can empathise and understand the difficulties of life including but not limited to discrimination, failure and rejection. They are a part of the lived experience of the life struggles that we take for granted.
If you like this article, we recommend you to watch Atypical. Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum is entering the dating world to hopefully find love assisted by her sister in the journey to explore the ‘normal’. The series is created and written by Robia Rashid and Academy Award-winning producer Seth Gordon and is available on Netflix.com